The Stihl MSA 161 T Battery Chainsaw: Features, Specs, Battery Info, Review

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The STIHL MSA 161T is a lightweight top-handle battery-powered saw.

It is sold with a 12-inch bar and a battery and charger. However, buying without a battery and charger is also possible, as some people may already have those from previous purchases of other Stihl power tools.

The model is an in-tree professional-use arborist saw. It’s not overly powerful but is considered good for its level. User reviews say it “cuts good and has decent battery life.”

Here’s what you should know about the MSA 161T before you purchase.

The Stihl 161T

using the stihl msa 161t
Image: @wicklowhire


One of the biggest highlights of this battery chainsaw is that it’s incredibly quiet; you can even talk while it’s in use.

Other great features:

  • Maneuverable size and weight
  • Easy to use
  • Great not having to pull start every time
  • Good battery life
  • Well balanced
  • It can be used with one hand
  • Fast cutting

It’s great for pruning, limbing, and cutting down small trees.

Stihl MS 161 T Reviews

is the msa161t good
Image: @finch.arb

Overall, the MSA 161T receives good user reviews, though some find it too small and slow.

It’s not going to win any races against a 200T or 201T, so if you are used to those types of saws, you could be disappointed with this one.

John said:

I’ve got the 161 and am surprised how long the battery lasts, very happy.

And I’ve got another dozen chainsaws to do anything large. But as a saw for around the house for the elderly or camping, it’s good. Only the price is the biggest downfall.

Warren said:

Great little saw. Mostly use it for trail maintenance.

I was surprised how much I ended up using it, though.

My main saw for cutting firewood is my MS 261.

MSA 161 T Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Very quiet
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Effective for small jobs
  • Well made saw

MSA 161 T Cons:

  • Max 12-inch bar
  • Limited run time
  • Only has so much power

And Scott said, “Battery-powered chainsaws are the equivalent of vegan bacon 🥓 🤷🏼‍♂️ 😂”

However, the Stihl MSA 161 T is good for its intended purpose, but we shouldn’t expect it to go beyond that.

Here are two more reviews from verified users on STIHL’s site – one negative and one positive.

Very disappointed

I have a small tree service company. I bought this to take in tree for trimming jobs. It does not cut fast enough and clogs up with just a little saw dust build up by chain.

The battery is good but have so much trouble with it I only use it for cutting up branches on ground. I have other Stihl products that are good. The chain should be bigger. I have the pole saw which works great. Love it.

This one I would love a refund and get something else.

This user was hoping for more from the MSA 161. He thought the quality, dependability, and value were lacking.

Here’s a more positive one.

Incredible little saw.

Took me over a year to decide to give this saw a try. The short blade and tiny chain pitch really had me concerned. After taking out a very large cedar I just can’t be happier. You couldn’t find a better saw for limbing.

The battery lasted for the entire tree and some ground work afterwards. I was able to top the tree and cut rounds down to 18″. Very quiet operation worked well for starting early in a residential area. The easy on off also made it a lot easier to talk to the ground crew.

Tree Bob thought the MSA 161 was awesome, giving it five stars.

Lastly, Eston said:

I can’t get mine started because the dumb asses sold me one that was missing the pull cord. I just haven’t had time to take it back yet.


Specs And Features

using the msa161t
Image: @technogreensgp

Being battery-powered, it is a zero-exhaust chainsaw.

And while there’s no need for motor oil and fuel, you will still need to fill it up with chain and bar oil, as with all chainsaws.

This saw comes with the following:

  • Commercial-grade, brushless electric motor
  • Delivers ideal speed, cutting capacity, and run times
  • Instant-start technology
  • Easy to use and maneuver

Without the bar and chain, the powerhead weighs 2.1 kg (4.6 lbs.). It’s a nice weight when you’re lugging it up and down trees!

The recommended guide bar length is 30 cm (12″).

This saw has the Stihl Quickstop and Quickstop Plus features. The first is a regular chain break when kickback occurs, while the latter is an additional chain stop if you completely release the handle with your right hand.

These are the batteries that are compatible with the MSA 161:

  • AP100
  • AP200
  • AP300
  • AP300 S

Remember that the bigger the battery, the heavier the saw becomes.

The run time with the batteries isn’t great, so it is best always to have at least two with you. The AP200, for example, has an expected run time of 42 minutes.

With these batteries, you can use AL 101, 300, and 500 chargers.


What do you think of the Stihl MSA 161 T chainsaw?

Let us know in the comments section below – we’d love your feedback.

For a larger, more powerful saw, check out our STIHL MSA 200 C review. Or, for something smaller, there is the MSA 140 C.


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5 thoughts on “The Stihl MSA 161 T Battery Chainsaw: Features, Specs, Battery Info, Review”

  1. Where can you buy the MSA161 online? My brother in law has one and I really like it. I’m keen to order one online as I live rurally away from any dealers. Have tried to Google where to buy online but doesn’t look like there’s anywhere that has it in stock right now. Any recommenedations?

    • I’ve just had a good look around but I can’t find any available online that are able to be shipped. There are many retailers that have the chainsaw listed online, but you have to go in and pick it up in-store. I’ll update this if I come across somewhere in the future!

  2. Looks like this is probably one of the best battery or electric chainsaws, right? Was interested in the dewalt battery saws but now this one has caught my eye.

    • Yes, I would say the MSA161 is one of the best battery-powered chainsaws. You should also check out the Stihl MSA200 and MSA220. Definitely better than the Dewalt electric chainsaws, but more expensive as well. It all depends on how much chainsaw you really need?

  3. I have 3 MSA model Stihls, 200c, 220c, and 161t. I love each for their own reasons. I have two 300S batteries and one 300. I also have the remote belt battery holder. If you are a climber, I really don’t think you can beat the 161 and remote battery. It’s light, and can do some major work. I have many Stihl gas top handles so I know whats out their and what they’ll do.


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